John Kane Pays Tribute To Legend JPR Williams

January 10, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Written by Stephen Wright]

John Kane, president of the World Rugby Classic, has paid tribute to Wales and British and Irish Lions legend JPR Williams, who played in the first-ever Classic in 1988.

Williams, a former London Welsh, Bridgend and Barbarians full-back, died aged 74 on Monday [January 8].

His connection with Bermuda lasted over 30 years, firstly as a player and then as part of the Lions management team.

He was synonymous with Wales and Lions’ glory days in the Seventies.

“I remember listening to the British and Irish Lions on a radio playing against South Africa in 1974, a Lions team which was probably the best-ever to wear that famous jersey,” Kane wrote on the World Rugby Classic website.

“If someone had told me then 23 of that squad would, one day, play in Bermuda, I would have suggested they change their medication.

“But as a result of the Easter Classic [1972-1992] and the World Rugby Classic from 1988, that’s exactly what happened!”

Williams, who won 55 caps for Wales, is regarded as the best full-back to have ever played the game. He was part of the triumphant Lions tours to New Zealand in 1971 and South Africa in 1974

“He had unbelievable courage as a player once returning to a game having had 30 stitches in his face from a first-half injury and scaring the wits out of his fellow players,” Kane added.

“He won three Grand Slams and six Triple Crowns with Wales and captained his country on five occasions.

“A physician by profession, along with his wife Scilla, he visited Bermuda on numerous occasions and will be missed by those who know we were in the presence of a rugby legend.

“May he rest in peace.”

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